As the new year approaches, it’s a great time to clear out the clutter, think about what’s working — and what isn’t — and reboot your business for success. Here are 10 ideas that will help you start 2016 off right.
1. Find Your New S Curve
Picture your business on a path that looks a bit like the letter S. As a startup, you climb the curve as your business grows, but eventually most businesses reach a point where that growth begins to flatten out. That’s when it’s time to really boost your company’s innovation and make the leap to your next S curve to begin a new phase of growth. The beginning of a new year, when you are in a fresh frame of mind, is a great time to figure out how to make that leap.
2. Get Rid of What’s Not Working
A clunky business strategy, a bad website design, an uncomfortable office chair, a broken printer? Why surround yourself with things that symbolize failure? Shred, refresh, rethink and recycle your way to a better frame of mind for you and your team.
3. Decide to Delegate
If you want a job done right, you need to do it yourself, right? We all know that’s not true, but many of us tend to run our businesses that way. Get a smarter start on the new year by making a commitment to delegate or outsource those tasks that take you away from working on your business. For instance, do you need to do all of the social media yourself, or is it smarter to hire a savvy university student who can do it twice as fast, freeing you up to innovate, pursue opportunities and lead your team? The same goes for bookkeeping. Is your time worth more to your business when you are balancing the books or prospecting for new clients?
4. Set Your Intentions
New Year’s resolutions aren’t just for losing pounds; they are for businesses too. This is a great time of the year to make a list of the business goals you plan to accomplish in 2016. Keep it in front of you and keep it simple. You can add it to your business plan later, when you’re ready, but in the meantime don’t bury it in a report. Create a poster of your intentions. Share it with your team. Make it your manifesto for the year ahead.
5. Break Bad Habits
Meetings that always go on too long? Continual budget overruns? Sales targets that always fall short? Left untended, bad habits can begin to echo the broken-window syndrome, where broken windows that aren’t repaired simply attract more broken windows. Decide now to take action to create better habits and put in place strategies to succeed. Start the new year off with a new meeting format that saves time. Stop budget bleeds by working collaboratively with your team to create realistic goals and reporting protocols. Likewise, work with your sales team to set doable, concrete sales goals.
6. Think About Your Customers
Like you, your customers will also be thinking about the new year and how to improve their businesses. You want to be part of that process, so start now to strategize how to boost your customer service — and then schedule new year’s meetings with clients to test the waters and find out how you can help improve their businesses in 2016.
7. Get Smarter
If your business is quiet during the holidays, take the time to catch up on your reading. Comb the Internet for ideas from inspiring sites like springwise.com or sit down with some of the year’s most influential business books for inspiration. Some of the top picks from 2015 include:
The Road to Reinvention: How to Drive Disruption and Accelerate Transformation by Josh Linkner, CEO of Detroit Venture Partners, explores purposeful transformation and why it’s important to make reinvention a regular part of your business strategy.
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance delves into the mind and ideas of one of the world’s most talked about entrepreneurs.
How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery is a fascinating look at world-changing creative endeavours. Author Kevin Ashton, the man who invented the term “the Internet of Things,” tells us how the Wright brothers set out to “fly a horse,” how the stealth bomber resulted from a 25-cent bet, and more.
8. Give Back
Start the year off by committing to finding ways to contribute to the community through your business. You and your team will feel good about helping out, and you may even find that you reach new audiences. Decide what you and your team are passionate about and then reach out to community organizations to find the best fit.
9. Expand Your Network
When you are a new entrepreneur, you are constantly reaching out to expand your network, but sometimes the longer you are in business, the more you tend to work in a closed-loop system of already-established contacts. This year, resolve to reach out beyond your business’s typical boundaries to expand your network, hear fresh ideas and meet new potential clients. Join a new business organization or, if you prefer something less formal, simply resolve to reach out to a few new contracts every week.
10. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone
This is the year to let go of things that are no longer rewarding or paying off. Take a pause to to clear the way for your business to achieve more revenue, reach and rewards. By setting your intentions, you’ll position your business and yourself to achieve great things in 2016.